Alfa Mist’s expansive musical universe has reached new heights, both in terms of the complex and intricate compositions that represent the growth in his musicianship, and his overall vision. He is a composer, masterfully crafting bodies of work that tell stories through sound, and with the release of his new album Variables, he has set a new standard of excellence for himself. The 10 tracks on this album carry the weight of his own experiences through sonic experimentations that are potent and utterly mesmeric. There is so much to love and appreciate about this new project. He sounds as focused and hungry as ever, and it’s truly a testament to both his talents as a composer and as a storyteller.
From the frantic and expressive opener “Foreword”, he sets the tone with a colourful jazz composition, with incredible saxophone leads, dynamic drumming and keys that add a delicate touch. It’s a stunning way to open the album, an immersive track that is among the highlights on the album as a whole. “Borderline” sees him rap over a delicate beat, with words of wisdom over struggles and life choices that have influenced his journey thus far, while Kaya Thomas-Dyke’s voice on “Aged Eyes” is as smooth as honey, with such incredible emotion that captures the aura of both her artistry and the warm, guitar-driven melody of the track. After the delicate and groovy “Cycles” comes “The Gist”, one of my favourites on the album. The key-led melodies are emphatic, and mixed with the guitar leads makes for an absolutely sublime piece of music. The emotion that it carries feels heavy in a way, like it channels Alfa Mist’s pure and raw emotion, capturing the real essence of his music so poignantly throughout its near 8-minute runtime. The afrobeat drumming of “Genda (Go Away)” is truly special, while “Apho” is another powerful moment, with Bongeziwe Mabandla’s vocals adding so much emotive power to the already beautiful track, with it’s strings, guitar leads and incredible drumming throughout. The energy of “Variables” is absolutely hectic and hypnotic, while “4th Feb (Stay Awake)” features some incredibly heavy drumming and gorgeous keys that feel so powerful and emotive, with subtle vocals from Alfa Mist himself, and a sublime string arrangement that closes the track out beautifully. “BC” closes the album out with a meandering composition, with its heavy drumming and keys, as it builds and builds, with guitar grooves and intense drumming that just continues to build emphatically. It’s an incredible way to close out an already memorable album.
Variables is one of Alfa Mist’s defining projects. It exemplifies his talents as a composer and visionary artist that is always looking to expand his musical horizons, and has crafted a dynamic, eclectic and varied album, with an energy that is just infectious and captivating from start to finish. It’s a stellar body of work, and one that will likely be among the best of the year. Go support Alfa Mist’s Variables below! Released via Anti- Records.
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